History of Libraries Research Seminar
Venue: Dr Seng T Lee Centre for Manuscript and Book Studies in Senate House Library (fourth floor).
Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London
Date: Tuesday 4th December 2012 Time:17:30 – 19:30
Daniel Starza Smith (University of Reading): “‘How Hard a Task you Lay vpon Mee you doe not Knowe’: Editing the Libraries of the First and Second Viscounts Conway, 1610-1645”.
Between 1610 and his death in 1631 Sir Edward Conway (later first Viscount Conway), enjoyed a spectacular rise in professional fortune, transforming from a Netherlands-based soldier to a Secretary of State who served both James I and Charles I. Conway acquired most of his education and courtly polish by seeking out literature in manuscript and by collecting around 500 printed books. Two catalogues exist of his libraries – dated, fortuitously, 1610 and 1631. I am in the process of editing these catalogues for Private Libraries in Renaissance England, and this paper presents my findings about this important statesman and patron’s intellectual profile at the beginning and end of this period. It also expands previous work on Conway’s son, Edward, second Viscount Conway (d.1655), one of the greatest private book collectors of the seventeenth century, whose collections totalled some 13,000 printed volumes.